Friday, 3 March 2017

2 March 2017 – Col de Rates

The arrow marks the objective to today’s walk – the Col de Rates restaurant.   Photo taken from our naya just before we left to meet the group.
Thirteen of us for today’s walk, a number which proved far from unlucky.  Just about the right size to avoid breaking into smaller groups.   

We had hoped to do this walk last week, but had to change our plans due to a wet and windy weather forecast.   Today was just right for walking.   Sunny with a cool breeze and no mist making it ideal for taking photographs.
Since I posted a photo on the blog last year about our visit and their excellent apple strudel, we have had requests to arrange a visit for the group.  We don’t normally visit a bar or restaurant in the middle of a walk, but could not really refuse when the walk went right past the restaurant in question.

At 7.30 euro each for strudel and coffee it is not cheap, and we did not want to make everyone feel that they had to visit the restaurant.   So we offered an alternative of having a picnic lunch nearby.   But in fact no one wanted to miss the opportunity.
There are not many suitable places to take a break on this walk, except at the Col de rates itself.  However we did promise a longer than usual banana break so that anyone could have a snack if they wished.   
This was the first time that many of the group had done this walk and there was some concern about the climb.  However we kept the pace down and everyone managed it without any difficulty.
We had a short stop at the mirador, just below the restaurant, just to recover from the climb
When we reached the restaurant area everyone wanted to admire the fantastic views and take a photo before we had our coffee and cake.   Thanks to Helen for taking this one of Jan and I.
We had booked a table to ensure that we could all sit together.   Just as well that we had booked, because it was much busier than we expected and most of the tables were taken when we arrived.
And this was what it was all about.   Everyone agreed that it was a very superior apple strudel, and well worth both the climb and the cost.   We explained that this was a “one off” visit, and that they should not expect to stop at the restaurant when we did the walk in future.   From the response it was clear that we may have trouble getting them past the Col de Rates without a visit.   Perhaps we should rename this the “Apple Strudel Walk”.
When everyone had finished their coffee and cake we walked a little uphill and found a spot to sit and enjoy the scenery
It is a spectacular view and, judging from the spray of flowers, very special for someone.
The advantage of this walk is that after lunch it is downhill all of the way
There is no shelter from the sun, and it is necessary to watch where you put your feet.   So we had a couple of water stops so that we could all enjoy the view.
By the time we reached Parcent everyone was hot and thirsty, and our suggestion to visit Bar Estufa met with complete agreement.   Unfortunately Anneke and Toon return to Amsterdam next week, and we will not see them again until January next year.

Walk Stats 
Distance 12km
Time 5.5 hours
Total ascent 471 metres

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